In order to accurately understand the diverse needs of our customers and deliver superior customer experience, we have adopted the Human-Centered Design (HCD) process in development of our products and services. We promote activities that bring the user perspective -the customer standpoint- into every phase of the development process, from research and planning to design and validation.
Sony's sites in Japan, North America, Europe, India, China, and other locations around the world work together to establish systems and environments for user research. Sony makes the user perspective an integral part of product development from the initial stages onward and continues to conduct user research through home visits and interviews across the globe.
For the design and validation processes, where developers assess the "user-friendliness" of a given product in terms of visual accessibility, understandability, and responsiveness, Sony takes a proactive approach to usability testing in actual customer environments to locate problems, make corrections, and improve overall user-friendliness before the product hits the market.
The scope of usability testing goes beyond the pre-launch phase; after the product goes on sale, Sony also conducts long-term usage research and interviews actual users on the product's user-friendliness to identify defects and possible areas for improvement.
Sony's internal "User Experience (UX) Research Program" allows interested employees and their families to participate in online surveys, interviews and usability testing. Through this framework, Sony propels the in-house user research and usability testing process to support development with customer perspective and user-friendliness.
Representatives of product and service designers across the Sony Group meet to formulate User Interface (UI) design standards for interactions, use of words and icons on devices and screens, and so on. The knowledge gained through usability testing, the expertise of the product development departments, and specific examples of UX design methods are shared across the Group, as well. UI design standards and expertise are posted on Sony's internal portal site so that everyone in the Sony Group has access to them. This information is used in product and service development as Sony continues to work to enhance usability for customers.
In-house training is provided to equip not only Human-Centered Design (HCD) experts, but also development staff and leaders with the skills to identify customer needs and apply them to development. The company also holds lectures and events with internal and external experts for all the employees as needed to help them better understand Human-Centered Design (HCD). Through these initiatives, we instill within the company a methodology for understanding the diverse needs of our customers.